Last night, on the eve of New York Fashion Week, I attended Vice's 2012 Fashion Issue party. It's a Vice party -a doggy fashion show party, no less-so I expected the self-serious mob of ripped tights and v-neck shirts in the same way I expected the floppy-hat wearing doorgirl struggling to read from the VIP list. I even expected the promise of an open bar until midnight to mysteriously and abruptly end at 11. I had imagined Westminster meets Lincoln Center meets a sterilized petting zoo. What I got was the double-sided dildo scene from Requiem for a Dream.
The models, ranging from terrier to bulldog, were led down the runway- which I think was actually a formica beer pong table from the 70's- in black leather chaps and harnesses by a guy draped head-to-toe in pleather. He looked like he had watched the Matrix an hour ago and was very excited about it. The room was dark, with flashing white lights and fog. Lots and lots of fog, pumped out by the 87 fog machines hidden in every corner of the space. Everyone crowded against around the small runway, sweaty and screaming like it was a dog fight taking place in a disco. The fashion show lasted exactly 11 minutes, just enough time for the Kate Bosworth/David Bowie progeny that was the DJ to play two different pulsating versions of "Fuck Wit Dre Day (And Everybody's Celebratin')," which most of us know as the "Bow Wow Wow Yippee Yo Yippe Yay" song.
As I was leaving I ran into a coworker.
"That was the the worst thing I've ever seen," I said.
He looked at me like I had expected to be somewhere between Westminster and Lincoln Center. "Um, it's a dog fashion show?"
Outside I met Zoya, a small French Bulldog whose owners were busily shoving her into a pink cape with a white fleece muff around her neck. They told me that, yes, Zoya had been one of the models tonight but that she had worn a pair of assless chaps instead of her pink cape get-up at the show.
"This look is too Upper East Side for the show," they told me.
"Was she scared during the show?" I asked the woman.
"Probably!" she said. "But I know someone at Vice and we just had to do it. Plus she looked so cute."
And off they went down the street, assless chaps in hand, secure in the knowledge that the smoke, the music, the hip sulky-faced Sinatras, and the fear are all part of it.
[Image by Jim Cooke, photos from Elizabeth Fleischman]